Green Seminary News

Enjoy this album from our recent Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education:  Implications for Teaching, Learning and Seminary Life.

The Symposium is part of the Seminary Environmental Leadership Initiative, which is funded through a grant from the Luce Fund for Theological Education, an initiative of the Henry Luce Foundation’s Theology Program.



The Green Seminary Initiative cheers on VTS as they participate in the first Kreitler Cup, a competition between between Virginia Theological Seminary and the Loomis Chaffe School, a boarding secondary school located in Vermont, CI, which was initiated by alum of both institutions, Rev. Peter Kreitler.  “What I want”, Kreitler explained of The Kreitler Cup, “is for my favorite Seminary to compete against my favorite High School in a green competition. How about it?”  

The Kreitler Cup Competition includes a comprehensive carbon footprint calculator. Through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability (AASHE), the Seminary will use funds available from the Kreitler Fund to obtain a baseline assessment through the organization’s Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) program to establishment a baseline measurement for a year. Then, moving forward the start of the official competition and collaboration between the schools would be compared back to the baseline readings. In addition, each school will prepare a one-year plan that addresses the goals for improved sustainability efforts.

  • “If Virginia Theological Seminary can be institutionally green,” said VTS Dean and President, the Very Rev. Ian Markham, Ph.D. “Then it can become a model. And, slowly, others can see the possibilities.”
    • Join us in welcoming Virginia Theological Seminary to our community! Joining the Green Seminary Initiative is the latest effort made by this environmentally conscious school, which seeks to prepare religious leaders to address eco-justice issues in the communities and congregations where they will serve. In 2007,  VTS sponsored a series of environmental lectures, entitled "Water of Life," several of which were produced into DVDs. In 2009 the Seminary made a move to ensure that all new campus housing is Leeds certified, and in 2012 the Seminary recognized the work of Robert A.M. Stern Architects in the environmentally conscious work being made in the designs of their new Immanuel Chapel.
    • “Committed staff, faculty, and students are working together to help Virginia Theological Seminary reflect more intensely on its use of energy and resources, and take steps to reduce our reliance on
    • fossil fuels, to increase our recycling and reuse of renewable resources, and to contribute to a healthier, greener environment,” said Rev. Gortner. “By doing these things, we hope not only to change our seminary practices – we hope to make a difference in the environmental practices of churches and schools served by our graduates.”
    • This effort is ongoing and is moving forward. VTS has already initiated and is tracking efforts around
    • campus which include:

    • • Compost program implementing an organic approach to the landscape;
    • • Updating and improving insulation and other energy saving features in faculty homes;
    • • Reduction of paper waste in the Seminary’s Welcome Center;
    • • Planting of an herb garden by the student Environmental Concerns committee for use in meal
    • preparation and to encourage the use of local ingredients in the community;
    • • Sowing wheat in a field on campus for use in the communion host in the chapel at VTS, and in
    • parishes at field education sites.
    • “The idea is that we will learn from each other, compete against each other, and recognize achievement. We want students, staff, and faculty to all combine in supporting and participating in these efforts,” said Dean Markham. “Our Strategic Plan obligates us to have an environmentally sensitive campus and preserve this remarkable world that God has given us.” The Green Seminary Initiative applauds the efforts of Virginia Theological Seminary!